Nokia N810 Internet Tablet review

Price when reviewed

The N810 may come in the same size box as a mobile phone, and it might have “N series” emblazoned on the side, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply a Nokia with a big screen and slide-out keyboard – it’s anything but.

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet review

It doesn’t have mobile data capability, for starters. You need a Wi-Fi network or a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone if you want to access the internet. The N810 doesn’t run Symbian’s S60 OS, either. Instead, you’ll find Maemo, a Debian-based Linux variant. This means it’s relatively easy to add applications, or even to write your own.

Given Nokia’s obvious expertisein the mobile data area, the lack of connectivity is strange. But what it does, it carries off well. We tried a number of highly interactive Web 2.0 sites, and the Gecko 1.9-based browser coped superbly. The 4.13in touchscreen is clear, although at 800 x 480 you’ll find yourself scrolling a lot on websites. The keyboard doesn’t feel particularly positive, but in practice it works well, too.

There are plenty of other apps pre-loaded, including a media player, file manager, text editor and an X Terminal, as well as Skype and Gizmo. There’s also a mapping app that supports the N810’s built-in GPS receiver. However, despite Nokia supplying a car mount in the box, the mapping software won’t do in-car navigation without a €99 upgrade. And there are no built-in PIM features, either.

All this makes it difficult to pigeon-hole the N810. It’s a small computer running Linux, but it’s much more pocket-friendly and stylish than the Asus Eee PC (web ID: 137289). It’s a handheld web-viewing device, but it’s much more usable than the Datawind PocketSurfer2 (web ID: 137346).

Ultimately, it’s a niche product with potential. If we’d been able to slip a SIM into it and use it anywhere, it would have been a whole lot more.

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